'It is not just about money!' says Airtel Money

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 09, 2012
Airtel's new campaign for Airtel Money aims to build an emotional high ground and attempts to position money as an emotional currency and not just a financial one.

Airtel Money

Airtel has launched a service called Airtel Money, which allows Airtel subscribers to send and receive money from their mobile phones without the barriers of time, distance and location. The television commercial for the service features five different stories of how money makes moments precious in the lives of individuals. It finally concludes with 'Baat sirf paison ki nahi hai' (it is not just about money).

Created by JWT India, the campaign aims to build an emotional high ground for Airtel Money and positions money as an emotional currency instead of a mere financial one.

Through the TVC, Airtel attempts to communicate that having money on one's mobile is not just about convenience or speed. It's the emotion behind sending and receiving money on time that makes the moment more precious. This concept has been encapsulated through 'baat sirf paison ki nahin hai'.

Swati Bhattacharya

"When you send or receive money, there is a sweet spot both for the sender and the receiver," says Swati Bhattacharya, national creative director, JWT India. She says that the whole idea is to communicate emotional emergency followed by relief.

The creative team that has worked on the campaign includes Bhattacharya and Sachin Das Burma, whereas Atika Malik and Sumeer Mathur have worked on the planning.

The production house for this campaign is Electric Dreams Film Company. The film was directed by Oni Sen and produced by Suparna Chatterjee. The music director is Shantanu Moitra.

While the launch TVC sets up the positioning for Airtel Money, the follow up TVCs will establish the different usage occasions where Airtel Money can be sent or received from anywhere, anytime. The four use cases are money transfer, utility bill payments, restaurant bill payments and mobile recharge. Besides TV, the campaign will be carried forward on print, radio, outdoor, retail outlets and digital media.

Money and emotions

There have been several campaigns in India that have connected emotions to money, especially from various financial institutions.

In 2008, ING's first corporate campaign in India showcased the richness of the Indian culture and the various meanings it attaches to money. The campaign, built around the tagline, Paisa sirf paisa nahi hota (money is not just money), showed the different points of view regarding money.

In 2009, mobile payment service Beam's TVC showed how a boy becomes a hero in his friend circle after he receives money on mobile from his father.

Mobile money

Banks have exploited the concept of mobile banking to a great extent. Some of the pioneers in this area were State Bank of India (Bank in your Pocket campaign) and Axis Bank (soldier on the field transferring money to his wife).

Bharat Bambawale

In 2010, Easypaisa had introduced a service, called Easypaisa Mobile Account, for Telenor subscribers. In its TVC, the brand used fingers metaphorically to show walking (which represented the traditional way of monetary transactions, involving physical travel).

Airtel also released an ad amongst a series using actors Vidya Balan and Madhavan, which showcased mobile money transfer.

"There are an estimated 24 million people who hold bank accounts, but a majority of the consumers use time consuming methods for financial transactions. With increasing access to mobile phones, we wanted to tap this opportunity," says Bharat Bambawale, director, global brand, Bharti Airtel.

In fact, India is witnessing a surge of mobile phone apps created and launched by various banks for the convenience of consumers.

Recently, Vodafone carried out a campaign with HDFC Bank on M-paisa, which enables safe money transfer through mobile phones during emergencies.

Bhattacharya feels that the whole idea of using a mobile phone for money matters will be first adopted by the youth.

Cashing on it?

Saji Abraham

Ramanuj Shastry

The concept is not a novel one, feels the ad industry.

Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe Lintas, says, "The ad doesn't really break new ground. It deals with the emotional aspect but it is doing what most reasonably decent ads do - focus on the consumer benefit. So, when the product or service is at parity, the focus shifts to how it can be positioned as a benefit to the consumer. In this aspect, the ad does it reasonably well. The execution has well crafted moments like 'papa ki chhaati 36 se 40 ho jati hai'."

He thinks that the ad loses out because it takes on a plethora of benefits to various target groups and misses out on a possible extension of the 'friends' campaign. "For example, the 'friends' idea could have been used to show how real friends bail each other out with the money transfer tool; or reinterpret friends to show how parents could be friends, too. This way, the brand would be true to a larger idea and make this a part of a bigger thought to differentiate itself."

Ramanuj Shastry, chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi feels that the ad tries to juxtapose technology with money and emotions. "It is a good effort. But as a concept, it does not strike as a new thing. It simply communicates the message, but there is nothing ground breaking. 'Har ek friend' has set a bar, and it is difficult for Airtel to match that with this ad," he remarks.

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